Southern Discomfort
                                  by Steve Ivy

   It was just an ordinary working day. As I am every morning, I was out in the
woods by myself and the August sun was approaching its full Alabama ferocity.
Suddenly, I caught sight of something I almost never see in the forest, another
person. And what a person!

   Not ten feet away from me stood a perfect southern belle, complete with
bonnet, hoop skirt, and parasol. Only something was wrong with this picture...
I could see the trees right through her body! Not being the suspicious sort, I
dropped my equipment and rubbed my eyes, thinking the summer heat was getting
me. But when I opened them again, the apparition was still in front of me.

   I was too startled to move. I just stood there unable to believe my eyes.
Finally, the ghostly lady shook loose the cobwebs by breaking the long silence.
"A true southern gentleman would offer a polite greeting to a lady instead of
staring at her as if she was a common whore. You must be a Yankee," she
remarked. Her gentile insult restored my speech and I replied, "Excuse me
ma'am. I am most definitely not a Yankee, but I am not accustomed to running
into people out in the middle of the woods. Tell me, who are you and what are
you doing here?"

   "Why whatever do you mean, sir?" she said in genuine surprise. I am Anabelle
Lee, the lady of the house on this plantation. Or at least... I used to be. And
the nearest woods is the next farm over, five miles east of here, unless a
shade tree makes a forest."

   While she was speaking, the pine forest melted away before my very eyes and
I was amazed to find myself standing on the edge of a cotton field. Behind Mrs.
Lee stood a modest white frame plantation house straight out of the last
century, with pillars on the front porch and a horse drawn carrage before it.
As I slowly turned and surveyed my unexpected surroundings, I saw black men
laboring in a field while their wives and children busied themselves around a
series of wooden shanties. I began to feel very much like the southern
equivalent of Mark Twain's famous Yankee from Connecticut.

   "Why am I here, Mrs. Lee?" I inquired hopefully of the lovely lady in white.
"Call me Annabelle," she replied familiarly. "You have come to punish me for my
iniquity and deliver me at last from my horrible penance." I was in total
confusion and questioned her further, "What are you talking about?"

   Pray, come sit on the porch swing and I will explain it all to you," she
replied, taking me by the hand and leading me up the steps. Once I was seated
comfortably, she began her sad and brutal tale.

   "During the summer of 1859, I was naive and jealous young bride. My husband
was a rough man, not well blooded, who had built this plantation himself with a
combination of hard work and deception. His first wife died (from excessive
abuse, I suppose) after their twentieth aniversary. I was an innocent girl of
seventeen when he came calling to replace her and he had no trouble charming me
into marrying him, but my dreams of marital happiness were shattered on our
wedding night."

   While she was relating each event, the actual scene was played out like a
movie against the front wall of the house. I watched in wonder as the first
wife expired in bed, the widower went down on one knee to propose and then
roughly stripped the wedding gown off her nubile, blushing body. The unwilling
young virgin was then securly tied spread-eagle to the bedposts and brutally

   "After all that I wouldn't let him come near me, no matter how much he
begged and threatened," she continued. "After two lonely months had passed, I
approached him with a offer to reconcile if he would only be gentle with me. He
just laughed and told me he didn't need or want me anymore, but he wouldn't
explain what he meant. Eventually, I stopped asking and decided to find out for

   "I surreptitiously observed his every movement that day and after night
fell, I pretended to go to sleep at the usual hour while listening to his
activities. Soon I heard the front door close quietly and watched out my window
as my husband tiptoed over to the slave's quarters. I threw my robe on and
hastened silently after him. Through a crack in the curtains, I was shocked to
see him ravashing a pretty young slave girl in the same bound position he had
placed me in on the night of our wedding. Her bottom was propped up on pillows
and I mistook her muffled screams of pain for moans of sexual rapture."

   "My heart was broken." Bitter tears rolled down the poor woman's cheeks as
she spoke. "In my blindness, I imagined that the slave girl had enticed my
husband into his brutality and that she seduced him away from me. I sneeked
back into my room and cried myself to sleep while secretly plotting my

   "A few days later, I summoned the unsuspecting wench to the house and set
her to washing the dishes. As she was carrying hot water to the sink, I
deliberately tripped her so that the hot soapy water spilled on my dress. I
then summoned the overseer and demanded that he horsewhip her in front of the
entire plantation."

   "Instead of allowing him to simply lower her dress to her waist, I had him
strip her completely naked before tying her wrists and ankles to the whipping
post. I further instructed him to begin flogging her across the shoulders and
lash her from head to toe before returning to her unprotected bottom for
another ten strokes. Not until her back, behind and legs were covered with
swollen and bleeding welts did I allow him to stop and only to untie her ankles
and turn around. He was then commanded to repeat the process on the front side
of her body and pay special attention to her heaving bosom and exposed crotch.
The unfortunate wench had passed out from the pain long before I allowed the
unwilling overseer to end the flogging."

   "I only intended to punish her for what I imagined she had done to my
relationship with my husband and disfigure her so that he would forsake her and
return to my bed. Instaed, my burning desire for revenge ended in tragedy as
the girl never regained consciousness and died that very night. I was filled
with remorse for what I had caused to happen. When I heard of her death, I
prayed hard for forgiveness, unable to find comfort in sleep that night."

   "The next morning, a snake crossed the path of the horses as the driver was
moving the carriage, causing them to bolt suddenly when I was walking across
the road and my neck was snapped by the wheels. The Lord was very angry with me
and sent me back here as punishment. As my punishment, I have had to endure
that same fatal beating I had unjustly required ever since. My penance in the
place of that innocent wench and I have waited for over one hundred years for
this day to arrive.

   After a moment, it suddenly dawned on me who that "strong man" was. "Now
hold on a minute, Mrs. Lee. If you're telling me that you expect me to beat you
with a horsewhip, my answer is no! You'll have to wait for someone else because
I don't have the stomach for it." I was appalled at the thought of having to
administer the intense flogging I had observed during her account of it. I rose
from the swing and tried to walk past her.

   "Oh, please, you must!" she pleaded frantically. I have been waiting these
many years to atone for my sins and there may not be another man to arrive for
another hundred years. You were sent here to set my soul free, kind sir. I beg
of you, do not leave until you have carried out my punishment!" The desperate
woman was on her knees and clutching my arm with all her strength while tears
flowed freely from her deep blue eyes.

   "Do not think you are being cruel to me," she continued during my
hesitation. "For these long years, I have been praying for some kind soul to
bind me to the post and give me the whipping I deserve and even crave, after
anticipating it for so long. Instaed, I have been forced to watch that innocent
girl being flogged in my stead. You will be showing me mercy, dear sir. Please
don't disappoint me now... say you will whip my wicked body, sir. Please!"

   I couldn't believe it was happening to me. I definitely did not want to flog
this gorgeous young woman in the same brutal manner which I had witnessed her
maidservant beaten. And yet it would have been more cruel to deny her tortured
spirit it long awaited release. "All right," I agreed quietly. "But I wish that
someone else had been chosen to perform this unpleasant duty." A smile of
relief swept across her tearstained face as she replied, "I am sure that it is
because of your merciful heart that you were selected."

   Without moving a single muscle, we suddenly appeared in the same position on
the platform beside the whipping post, with a buggy whip hanging ominously from
a nail on its side. As I looked around, I saw that we were surrounded by the
solemn black faces of many slaves staring blankly up at us. The shimmering
image of the tortured wench was standing on the side of the platform at the top
of the steps, where Annabelle herself stood to direct the slave's merciless
flagellation. The welts on her naked skin glowed like a lighted road map across
every square inch of her body.

  I turned back to Annabelle Lee, still kneeling humbly at my feet. In place of
her elaborate white dress, she now wore only a faded cotton smock in the
fashion of slaves. As she slowly rose with her blonde head submissively
lowered, the heavily accented voice of the wench rang out a summons. Her choice
of words sounded very familiar and I realized that the events of her own brutal
torture were being played out exactly except that the two women had reversed

   "Remove her dress," the black girl commanded. I slipped the straps off
Annabelle's smooth white shoulders and the dress came to rest around her waist.
"All the way off!" she continued angrily and I reluctantly tugged the worn
cotton fabric onto the ground at her feet. Her face was mostly hidden by her
cascading blonde hair as she stared at the floor, but I caught a glimpse of the
firey blush of shame on her cheeks as she stood completely naked in front of
the throng of solemn Negroes.

   "Bind her to the post," barked the wench sternly. I slipped a knotted loop
hanging from the top of the post around Annabelle's wrists, Then tightened the
knot by pulling down on the other end. The rope was threaded through a heavy
ring fastened to the top of the post so that the bound victim was stretched on
her toes when I applied downward tension to her bonds and wrapped the slack
around a nail. "Ankles too," the voice reminded firmly and I stooped to wrap
two short cords, affixed similarly to the sides of the post at the bottom,
tightly around Annabelle's tapered ankles.

   My breath was taken away at the close up view of her long, shapely legs and
rounded buttocks as I bent over to complete her immobilization and then
straightened up again. What kind of male animal could have been so heartless
and selfish that he led both these young maidens to their untimely ends? I felt
certain that he must have long since fallen to his own eternal torment for his

   The determined slave did not give me much time to contemplate. "Now start at
her shoulders and work your way down her body," was her next command. "She is
to feel the whip on every part of her wicked body." Although I reached over to
grab the light buggy whip as though to comply with her instructions my mind was
twisting in the terrible anguish of indecision. I was willing to torment the
willing victim with the ten foot lenght of braided leather, but I had no desire
to cause her demise.

   My thought waves must have been picked up by the naked figure of the
suspended woman. "I am already dead," she reminded me, "so you cannot kill me.
If you only knew how many thousands of times I've had to watch another woman
being flogged and wished with all my heart it was me in her place, you would
not hesitate. I deserve to be whipped... I need it to sooth my aching
conscience... I cannot rest until you thoroughly flog my sinful body. Please,
kind sir, don't fail me now."

   Her sincere entreaty strengthened my resolve and I could feel the power of
conviction coursing through my muscles as I gripped the handle tightly and
brought the whip back. I threw my weight into the swing as I brought the whip
crashing down upon Annabelle's smooth white shoulders. Her body stiffened and a
gasp escaped from her lips as the crimson welt appeared, but she wept happy
tears of release and passionately encouraged me, "Yes, whip me! I've waited a
long time for this."

   I felt exhilarated as I contunued to flog the prone figure of the girl,
aiming each lash just below the one before. Annabelle's shapely body twisted
and jerked and her hair was thrown this way and that as I warmed to my task. By
the tenth stroke, I had covered her back with parallel stripes and her wails
and shrieks were ample evidence of the effectiveness of my efforts. I spaced
the next ten somewhat closer together across the full cheeks of her unprotected
bottom, relishing her cries of anguish. By the time I reached her ankles, I had
developed the knack of snapping my wrist to sting her tender flesh with a
maximum of velocity and resulting pain.

   I was careful not to ignore the sensitive bottoms of her bare feet, deftly
working the whip upward to torture each exposed instep. Because of her tight
bondage, she was unable to do anything more than twitch and moan as I repeated
the procedure upward along the insides of her legs until the whip ultimately
thrashed upward into the dark cleft between her sculptured buttocks. Her
screams of raw agony took on an even more desperate pitch as her most private
area was brutally assaulted. I then concentrated a furious sequence of lashes
onto every exposed part of her unprotected bottom until the slave girl/observer
mercifully interceded.

   "It's time to turn her around," she said simply. I realized with surprise
that both Annabelle and myself were sweating profusely and breathing hard as a
result of our exertions. Keeping the whip in my right hand, I loosened the
cords around her ankles and roughly turned the tortured woman around to face me
before retying her ankles. She groaned and flinched when my strong fingers
touched the welts on her hips while turning her helpless body and she fixed her
gaze upon me as I bound her.

   When I straightened up, Annabelle smiled weakly at me and spoke, "I am so
grateful for what you are doing. Please flog this side of me as hard as you did
my back and my eternal sorrow will be ended."  The suspended woman followed my
every movement with keen intrest and the fact that she was watching inhibited
me for a moment as I held the whip aloft. "Go on, please," she  prompted me
eagerly. "Whip me now."

   I resumed the flogging as I started it, by directing the initial lash across
her soft shoulders and working my way downward. I couldn't help admiring how
ripe and full her mature breasts were as I thrashed them, stimulating her large
nipples to full erection with the burning kiss of the lash. Annabelle yelled
with pain and jerked each time the whip exploded against a fresh target on her
exposed flesh.

   After finally bringing the whip down hard against the tops of her toes on
her second foot, I again snapped the leather tip onto the insides of her spread
legs. As I threaded the whip expertly across those sensitive areas and the
agony crawled relentlessly upward along her thighs, her loud cries began to
assume a less agonized and more blissful tone. When I ultimately reached the
special region between her blond pubic triangle, her legs jerked outward
against her bonds and her voice rose in a continuous rising wail. Her eyes
closed tightly and for all the world it looked and sounded as though she
experienced a pulsating climax while I viciously attacked her unprotected
genitals with the whip.

   When her voice reached high "C" and held it, I heard the slave girl say "It
is done." I stood frozen with the whip hels aloft as the scene of torture
around me shimmered and vanished. I found myself back in the forest again,
holding my walking stick instead of the buggy whip and imagined if I had
imagined the whole thing.

   But when I looked on the ground in front of me, my attention was captured by
the glint of something shiny in the bright Alabama sun. When I bent down to
investigate, I found a mostly rusted metal ring attached to a hinged plate with
holes to fasten it down. A further inspection revealed  two more rings still
attached to the bottom of a rotted post beside the first ring.

    Something beckoned me to look up just then and I caught a glimpse of a
slender white form rising up above the treetops. Just before the vision was
swallowed up in the Agust sun, I heard an exquisitely feminine voice call out
"Thank you, kind sir."